Founded by Vadim Tsybenko in 2017, Katie is an aviation manufacturer with an international team of aircraft designers and engineers who are creating a new hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) cargo aircraft. The company's mission is to build and produce a safe, eco-friendly and inexpensive air travel and air cargo transportation for all. The company will make hybrid-electric VTOL cargo aircraft first, and the goal for the production cargo aircraft is deliver 240 tons of goods per day flying using artificial intelligence (AI), making the aircraft fully autonomous.
Kaite is using the latest in aircraft construction, computer vision and data analytics to create the Katie-VTOL aircraft. The company has also noted they are making many systems in-house including the electronic systems, aircraft design, plasma hydrodynamics, video analytics, predictive technology, optoelectronics, photonic sensors and more.
The company plans to build at least two production versions, the larger cargo model will be the Katie-VTOL 500 cargo aircraft with a payload weight of 470-500 kg (992-1,102 lb). The aircraft is has a modern sleek design with very smooth and curved surfaces, a modified delta type main wing, with one rear pusher propeller for forward flight and has six electric fans in a row on each side of the fuselage with hinged flaps, for a total of 12 VTOL electric propellers. The hinged flaps open for vertical flight and will close during forward flight.
The engine turns a generator to produce electricity, and their engines allow a flexible fuel intake and can use jet fuel or gasoline. The reason for using a hybrid-electric aircraft is to allow the aircraft to fly as many missions during the day or night and in harsh cold weather conditions, and in addition, a hybrid-electric power source has the added benefit of carrying heavier loads and flying farther distances.
The progress of the company in 2020, per their website, is the following:
- Calculations of the aerodynamic and strength characteristics
- Mathematical simulation of device behavior in different flight modes and machine stability with a wide range of dynamic loads
- Created more than 12 sub-scale prototypes for various tests
- More than 10 tests in a wind tunnel
- Eight extensive environmental climate tests
- More than 200 flight tests
- Patent for the main engine
- Substantial tests of the AI control system
- Based on calculations and testing, we have defined the technical details for an aircraft weighing 900-1000 kg (1,984-2,205 lb)
- The transportation of 250 tons per day is being discussed with potential partners.
The company's vision is to have the entire cargo ground and air operations to be autonomous and pilotless. Starting with warehouse operations, the goal is to be able to store, ship and receive goods completely automated, including the loading and unloading of the aircraft. The aircraft will also be able to park autonomously inside a hangar. In addition, the company will create autonomous maintenance machines to work on the aircraft, the landing pads and warehouse facilities.
The company foresees its aircraft to be use for logistics in severe weather conditions, search and rescue, medevac, communications and surveying missions. The company claims that due to their design, the aircraft will have a high cruising speed as well as being able to land on virtually anywhere, including unprepared landing areas.
The company estimates the cost per flight hour will be $90.00 USD per hour. After testing is completed on their prototypes, the company predicts its cargo hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft will take 24 to 30 months to start serial production. In addition, the company's plans to fly an uncrewed, non-stop, round-the-world flight with their cargo aircraft with automatic refueling in the air.
- Aircraft type: Cargo hybrid-electric VTOL
- Piloting: Autonomous
- Capacity: Cargo, including medevac missions
- Cruising speed 420-500 km/h (261-311 mph)
- Flight range: 1800-2000 km (1,118-1,243 miles)
- Maximum Payload: 470-500 kg (1,036-1,102 lb)
- Empty weight: 1,200 kg (2,626 lb)
- Propellers: 13 (or more)
- Electric motors: 13 (or more)
- Wing: Low delta wing
- Landing gear: Unknown, possibly fixed skid
- Safety Features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft.
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